The Amazing Science Emporium

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  • Location: Columbus, Ohio

Mushalko, a Penn State alum, is the brains (and voice) behind The Amazing Science Emporium, an award-winning three-minute radio program sponsored locally by this office. Among its many attributes, the Emporium, as we aficionados call it, single-handedly obliterates the notion that public radio is an elitist medium.

It does the same for science. With its loopy dialogues, painful puns, and elbowed-in snatches from the entire spectrum of western popular song, the Emporium, I am convinced, is what would happen if Spike Jones and Carl Sagan were locked together in a cyclotron until they melded.

From its manic opening mantra - Science. Science. Science science science. - chanted by some unacknowledged relative of Alvin the Chipmunk, to its closing credits, which roll over a phat sax version of Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein," Mushalko's show sounds like nothing you've ever heard.

It used to come on at afternoon drive time in State College, which was perfect programming: a jolt of espresso (or helium) at the low ebb of the day. Some days it would leave me hooting into my steering wheel right there in the parking lot, which did wonders for my reputation among my co-workers. But beyond the crazed music, the fearless pace, the skewed impersonations of talking atoms and Baron von Leibniz, there was something else. Once hooked, I'd listen closer, and invariably I'd learn something - about the mating practices of zucchini or the early days of the solar system or the physics of an egg shell.